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Rogers, William Pote (1826-1904) | Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog

Name: Rogers, William Pote (1826-1904)

Historical Note: William Pote Rogers was born in Freeport, ME, November 4, 1826, the son of Charles and Mary Jane (Pote) Rogers.  [See App. A for details of these two families.]  The only thing known about his youth is that he lived with his grandfather William Pote for a number of years [s. Box 6/5] and that he wished to run away to sea at the age of fifteen.  In 1854 he received a letter from his mother [s. Box 1/11] asking him to come home from the mines whether these were the gold mines of California or the coal mines of Colorado is not known.  In any case, he did go to sea and was a master at least by 1856, the earliest of his vessel papers in this collection.  He served as master of various vessels, primarily in the Atlantic trade, until the Civil War. In September, 1855, Rogers married Margaret (Maggie) S. Farwell (1835-1901) of Freeport.  [See App. A for details of her family.]  They had two children, Evelyn Willard (1859-1932), who married Henry H. Cushing, and Willie Lincoln (1866-1881). In December, 1861, he was appointed an Acting Master in the United States Navy and assigned to the William Bacon, Schooner No. 7 in the Mortar Flotilla commanded by David M. Porter and based in Key West, FL.  Capt. David Farragut took over the flotilla's command, and they proceeded to the Mississippi River, where they participated in the battle of New Orleans, the capture of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and the holding of Vicksburg in April- June of 1862.  Rogers then sailed for Virginia and participated in patrols and blockades, eventually capturing two Confederate prizes.  In June, 1864, he was promoted to Acting Volunteer Lieutenant.  He also commanded the steamer Merrimac and the steamer Somerset before being honorably discharged in December, 1865.  Details of his service record can be found in Box 3/44. After the War he returned home and seemed to spend at least the next year doing major renovations and alterations to his farm at Frost's Corner (near the Kendall Tavern on Main St.) in Freeport, probably the same one that was deeded to him in 1849 after his grandfather William Pote's death [s. Box 2/9]. He did go back to sea in the 1870's as master and served for a number of years on the schooner Sequin, which made many, many trips up and down the East Coast and appears to have carried ice.  In 1880 he obtained a British First Mate's license and made a few voyages overseas.  He does not appear to have been at sea after about 1882. For the next few years there is evidence that he worked as a night watchman in Iceboro, a section of Richmond, ME, along the Kennebec River and famous for its part in the ice industry and trade.  At times his wife was with him in Iceboro.  By about 1889 they appear to have returned to Freeport, where they became occupied with the care of her elderly parents. Rogers was active in a number of organizations, including the Masons, the Independent Order of Good Templars, the Freeport G. A. R., and the Portland Masonic Relief Association.  He was one of the first to join the newly formed Socialist party in Maine and was running as their gubernatorial candidate at the time of his death from liver cancer on July, 24, 1904.

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